A RAIL trail objector has reacted angrily to a colourful attack by former Tourism Australia chairman Tim Fischer and complaints elsewhere that administrators of a Gundagai rail trail Facebook page have been subjected to hurtful posts.
Gundagai woman Kylie Tout said people who posted comments on the Facebook page against a rail trail in the town where definitely not out to be hurtful.
“We were asking common sense questions that they could not answer,” Mrs Tout said.
This week, Mr Fischer – patron of Rail Trails for NSW – attacked what he called “negative NIMBY (not in my backyard) flying squads now spreading their anti-tourism bile”, saying they should be challenged.
At the same time, administrators of the Gundagai Rail Trail Facebook page said they would not tolerate comment that was either purposely or inadvertently hurtful and “appropriate measures have been taken to resolve this”.
While Mr Fischer did not refer to the Gundagai Facebook page in his comments, Mrs Tout feels targeted.
“Concerned residents and landholders are disgusted and dismayed an ex-politician and a landholder could himself be so hurtful by calling us NIMBY types, out of our depth and possibly unhinged,” Mrs Tout said.
“The truth of the matter is concerned residents, ratepayers and affected landholders of this town have been blocked from having their say on this community Facebook page.
“I think admin are forgetting this proposed trail is a very sensitive project.
“It is ludicrous to even think that you could construct this Facebook page and not expect to see it gather opinions for and against from members of our community.
“All questions that were projected to this group could not and have not been answered.
“Instead, they pretend there is no debate by deleting and blocking anyone who may be opposed.”
Mrs Tout said many of the people against the trail trail worked hard to promote Gundagai in many ways.
“One particular family knows all too well about tourism, successfully managing the Snake Gully tourism complex for over a decade,” she said.
“As for being out of their depth, many community members have lived in this town all of their lives.
“I can assure you they are far from being out of their depth; instead, they are passionate and will unite to have their voices heard.”
The Chairman of Rail Trails for NSW, John Moore, said the concerns expressed by rail trail opponents had been successfully addressed elsewhere.
“There are over 100 rail trails throughout Australia involving more than 150 councils, and all of the issues that people have raised have been settled to mutual benefit of all,” Mr Moore said.
“There is nothing coming up from farmers and residents in NSW that has not been solved in other states.”
Mr Moore said the good thing about rail trails is they would remain in public ownership, and not sold off to private developers.
“As it happens, the lines have been dormant for so long, and there is no real chance of being used again for trains,” Mr Moore said.